Why change a winning formula?

Well, you could ask Tesco that question. Or Vince Vaughn. In both cases, it appears that the seeds of their downfall were sown in the supposed glory days, even though it may not have been obvious at the time. (Though with Vince Vaughn, anyone who sat through Couples Retreat might say that it was in fact pretty likely.) Which goes to show that there’s no such thing as a best strategy, it’s always context-related. Which is where fitness landscapes come in. Borrowed from evolutionary theory, fitness landscapes are a way of visually representing strategic fit. They set out a landscape of all...

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Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser

  The kid spread his hand and then began to blush But his face turned pale when he saw my queen-high flush   T Bone Walker there, describing how to play a winning hand of poker. Though in fact (a) he’s not actually talking about poker and (b) it’s rarely that simple. According to Nate Silver, in his book The Signal & The Noise, a good poker player can still be financially behind after tens of thousands of hands, if the cards go against you, at the unluckiest end of the spectrum. Good players are highly skilled, but it’s also about how the cards fall. So poker is a high...

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Evaluator says evaluation is a waste of time, never works again

The history of our knowledge about, and understanding of, the world can be summarised (amongst other ways) as follows: Speculation. Plausibility. Certainty. Uncertainty. Unknowability. Aristotle suggested that stones fall to earth because they are trying to get back to their home. Fire travels upwards because it lives in the heavens. He invented logic and was a major catalyst for the Renaissance so we can forgive him these misreadings. The point anyway is that he was speculating. A few centuries later, Francis Bacon stuffed a chicken with snow and experimental science was born. Processes of...

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